The US federal government’s top offshore drilling regulator warned Tuesday that metal bolts used to hold together drilling equipment under the surface of the ocean were failing faster than anticipated.

Brian Salerno, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said so far the failures had not resulted in any major oil leaks or other incidents but the rapid corrosion concerned inspectors.

“They’re very simple and design and concept but they’re critical,” he said during a press conference at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. “If a vital connection point fails, the entire system is compromised.”

Officials from BSEE said they were in discussions with the manufacturers of the bolts and oil and gas companies in the Gulf to try and find out why the bolts were failing. No definitive answer has been reached, said Douglas Morris, BSEE. chief of offshore regulatory programs.

“We’ve seen a pattern for all three major equipment manufacturers,” he said. “The industry is trying to figure out a solution.